The municipality of Copenhagen decided to create a new park in Copenhagen. Now when I think about a ”park” I always have in mind a space with air, green grass and trees. A place where you can enjoy nature and get away from the city. What do you imagine?
When they ”built” Odins pocketpark (Odins Lommepark in Danish) I was so disappointed. As you can see on the picture, more than half of it is cement, and there is absolutely no grass what-so-ever.
I suppose the obvious ”symbolism” is a green crack in the cement. But honestly, they could have made the ”whole” thing a grassfield and that would have been more of a green crack in the cement. Nørrebro is all cement. Did we really need a cement park???
4 thoughts on “Odins pocket-park – Is this a park???”
I agree – I hope you are complaining somewhere 😉
The green cracks in the cement are going to appear when the roots of those trees start to grow.
The whole point of that pocket park, seems to have been to get rid of the people drinking there by creating a unwelcomming structured space.
The municipality’s material on the pocket parks mentions permeable surfaces, which concrete cannot be counted amongst.
Generally the whole pocket park plan seems like a prestige project, with no regard of whether the parks will be used at all. If you go through the material, you’ll see that most of the parks are located right next to the major automobile arteries in Copenhagen. Just a place to take your children for a breath of fresh air!
If you check the plan of the pocket-park you’ll see there’s a fair ammount of green for the area: http://www.thing-wainoe.dk/web-sider/byrum/galleri_byrum/Odinsgade/index.html
Furthermore, urban spaces are quite complex to design. You can’t just expect to place a patch of grass everywhere and hope it will have the same function. Lawns are extremely high maintenance, water hungry monsters and not promoters of almost any kind of biodiversity. They’re extremely important for many situations, and people love to run, play or just lay down on a lawn for a picnic or a nap, but in a situation like this park it would exclude a lot of functions. Besides, the area is quite compact and very shady, grass wouldn’t grow very healthy. And you also have to consider social factors. This quarter is the most multi ethnical in Copenhagen. Before the park was built it was quite a bad area, with mostly drunk and drug addicts. It is still used by many people like that, but also other people around the area stop by. And regarding green the project actually has an interesting variety of green and very low maintenance which is quite expected in these areas, with ivy, spring bulbs, and a nice variety of shrubs and trees.
Designing parks and open spaces for areas like Norrebro it’s quite a challenge. There are many examples where the designers try to put flowering shrubs and trees like magnolias and people end up taking all the flowers and destroying the plantings.
My point is, dont say a project is bad just because it doesn’t have the ammount of green you expect your concept of “park” to be. Urban situations like this are very complex and hard to deal with. There was a competition for this park and I’m surely the municipality chose the one who thought the most feasible and resilient (maybe other’s would be more beautiful in a drawing but wouldn’t just work in a place like this in terms of maintenance and management).
I’m like you, my idea of a nice park would be mostly green and a lot of nice plants and flowers, textures, and so on to see and experience. However, I’ve learned to see that that ideal image isn’t possible in many situations and for urban planners and designers they need to try to find other solutions. Regarding all these issues, even thought these pocket park hasn’t got the ammount of green I would like to see in a public park, I think it’s quite an interesting project, creative, that accomplishes its function and also provides an interesting planting which is low-maintenance and sustainable.